Totally Spain California Cantabria surfing coast

Might Cantabria in Spain be the Spanish California? At Totally Spain we think so…

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Huh? I hear you say. What’s all this about and where is it going? Well, just bear with me for a minute. By the way I’m Ken Baldwin, one of the founders of Totally Spain. We are a Spain travel specialist and our headquarters is in Northern Spain in the region of Cantabria. It’s an area that we chose to settle in and which we love. It’s also a part of Spain that always exceeds our client’s expectations.

It’s a curious thing but at we are always comparing places in Spain to similar places in the USA, UK, Ireland and even Australia. It helps us to give clients a sense of what Spain is like. It’s truly beautiful here in Cantabria and often we have found ourselves telling people that Cantabria is like California. At least the lovely countryside, the magnificent beaches and the stunning coastline is very similar. It’s all very reminiscent of California. On a much smaller scale, significantly less traffic and much more relaxed it has to be said, but it’s like California. And a bit like New England. And Cape Cod too.


Totally Spain Cantabria California map

Cantabria as seen on Google Earth

Is this important or even interesting? Well, I think so. As I said, it helps our clients, especially those from America to gain a feel for what they can expect to see in Cantabria. It also reinforces what I believe to be true and that is that Cantabria is a world class tourist destination which, in it’s own way, has as much to offer as California and which hasn’t been spoilt in any way. Cantabria is very much ‘real Spain’.

It’s a place I feel very lucky to live in and which I have an enormous appreciation for. I don’t exaggerate when I say that you live the ‘good life’ here in Cantabria. Sometimes I think that I appreciate it more than the Cantabrians themselves. Naturally speaking, Cantabria is extremely appealing in the same way that California and even Cape Cod or Vermont is appealing. Cantabria has all the flavour of those places. I know this because I’ve lived in Boston and have visited Cape Cod and California on many occasions. Interestingly enough I found this post online the other day from a New Englander living in Cantabria. It says it all.

Totally Spain Cantabria California Ris Noja beach

One of the many great beaches on the Cantabrian coastline – Ris Beach, Noja

Totally Spain California Cantabria surfing school beaches

You can just about make out the sign for the surf school here. Surfing is a big deal in Cantabria and there are some top class summer schools for children and adults

I also did an experiment the other day and searched in Google Images the following terms. I think the visual results speak for themselves. In natural terms, Cantabria could easily be the Spanish California. Here are the links where you can judge for yourself: CALIFORNIA beaches and CANTABRIA beaches. And here’s CALIFORNIA Coast and  CANTABRIA Coast. And CALIFORNIA Countryside and CANTABRIA Countryside. Try also searching for ‘surfing Cantabria’ and ‘surfing California’. Might as well be the same place.

Though where you do see a difference is here. CALIFORNIA Food  CANTABRIA Food. No tacos, burgers and pizzas in sight!

Totally Spain California Cantabria anchovies

The anchovy is one of Cantabria’s most popular exports. Taste it and you’ll know why. Photo credit: Viajar sin Destino via photopin cc

Totally Spain California Cantabria food market Lierganesq

The Cantabrian farmers’ markets are excellent – here is one of the stalls in Lierganes

So, what is the point of this post? Well, the point is to draw some more attention to Cantabria if I’m honest. If you are thinking of coming to Spain it really is worth thinking about coming up north. And if you love the feel of places like California and New England, then you’re sure to love Cantabria. Add to that the superb cuisine in Cantabria, the emerging wine scene, the people, the history, the beautiful regional architecture (even Gaudí has left his mark here) and you have all of the ingredients for a unique holiday in a place that will please you to be in. Doesn’t matter your age group, Cantabria has something for everyone. And for the travel connoisseur, believe me, Cantabria is definitely worth checking out.

Cantabria California Spain USA

The Palacio de Sonanes in Villacarriedo is as beautiful inside as it is outside. It’s a hotel with a lunchtime set-price-menu that offers great value for money

I hope that my observations on Cantabria connect with you. Need more inspiration for your trip to Cantabria? Check out all our other posts about Cantabria here!

Totally Spain California Cantabria surfing coast

Surfing in Liencres, Cantabria. photo credit: Dani_vr via photopin cc



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